The call of God is not to the qualified. It is to whoever is thirsty for the living water.

As the deer pants for the water brooks so pants my soul for you o God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? Psalm 42:1 NKJV

The first thing we must deal with here is the issue of thirst. Ordinarily, thirst means a feeling of strong needing or wanting to drink. Thirst also means a strong desire, longing, craving, etc. 

It’s a desire that has not been met, an expectation that seems to be delayed, a vacuum that needs to be filled up, a fallow ground that must be tilled, a heart-cry that has not been attended to, a dream that has not become reality, a prayer that has not been answered, a set goal that is not yet achieved etc. It is the feeling of emptiness in one’s life that must be filled up, an ambition that is still a nightmare.

There are many things people are thirsty for: some are righteousness, justice, promotion, peace of mind, life partner, success, increase, power, fame, prosperity etc. All of these desires are good and godly depending on the motive behind the heart of the person desiring them.

But in this case, this man is thirsty for nothing else but God. His greatest desire is to see God manifest in his life. To him now God is the priority. He has reserved the best place in his heart for God and therefore he must search everywhere to bring God to His position in his life.

Others may be crazily looking for power to usurp or trying everything with the whole of their being to accord more fame to their own self, but this man was so desperate to have God in his life.

He said my soul is thirsty for God. He seems to be saying publicly: this thirst in me cannot be quenched by anything or person other than God.

Please, permit me to ask you: what is it that takes the first place in your heart now? Is it a desire for righteousness or a passion for sin? Is it an appetite to sleep with a random girl in the street or a craving to help someone rise up?

Are you the politician that’s all about embezzling money or one whose purpose is to see people live the life that befits human beings?

 Are you running after power and fame, riches and position or are you longing to see God in your life? Excuse me please, what is it that is occupying your heart right now?

It is a wonderful thing if we can all submit our lives on God’s table to be worked upon? How I pray we will be ready to let go of everything including our ‘selfs’ just to become a habitation for the living God. 

The psalmist says, ‘I’m tired of keeping many things at the expense of you, Lord’. What will you say?

The second issue we must deal with here is the desire, the panting, the longing of a deer.

As the deer pants for the water brooks so pants my soul for you o God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? Psalm 42:1 NKJV

Deer, in its bigness like that of a bull, live in the desert or forest. Like every other animal, water is very necessary for the survival of a deer daily.

A deer is an animal that will not be weary until it has found a stream of water.  It is an animal whose priority is to get water.

Other animals may be running after preys, some may be longing for mating, but the utmost desire of a deer is to find a stream of water where it can quench its thirst and get its body refreshed.

There are animals in the forest that can stay for days without water. A good example of this is snails. But a deer will never substitute water for anything.

 If you have ever seen a thirsty deer, you will know what Psalm 42 is talking about. A deer will never stop searching until a stream of water is found.

There are many lessons for us to learn here ranging from determination, focus and courage.

 A deer will not follow the interests of other animals. It does not lay down idle and justify laziness as some men will do by casting blame on one situation or the other. Instead, it rises up to search everywhere, looking for water, every day.

This psalmist here seems to be saying, Lord, my soul longs for You now as the deer longs for water. My inner self, the whole me, is now determined and longing for You. I am focused and purposeful now, not after man or gods, but after You, like an over-thirsty deer in search of a stream of water.

 Here is a testimony of a man who is completely desperate to be united with God and His people again. His desire now is to find his way into the sanctuary again.

Now, if a deer could find it very necessary to search nooks and crannies, the mountain and the valleys, regardless of the ruggedness and the toughness of the environment, just for water that brings temporal satisfaction, why will I not in that manner run to the Lord who will not only give me water for my body but also for my soul, a spring of the living water flowing every day, refreshing my soul and spirit? Why will I not run to the One whose arms are opened wide, who can take care of all my needs?

Now the third thing to consider here is the reason for his brokenness.

Ps 42:3-4. My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng. NIV

The house of God as a place of worship is a sacred place that we should never joke with. Every Christian should take fellowshipping with other believers as a thing of utmost importance. 

Here’s a man who used to be a choirmaster but has now become a total stranger, whose abode is far away from the sanctuary. Little wonder they kept on asking him to show them where his God is. 

It is a terrible thing for any Christian to become one who no longer has access to or have interest in believers’ fellowship. Personal fellowship with God is wonderful but cannot and should not be used as a substitute for congregational worship. 

This man has seen the dryness and emptiness that come as a result of being separated from the house of God and has decided to fill the vacuum with the very God who can make his life blossom again.

He flashed back to remember how it used to be in the days when he was in the sanctuary. He was bombarded with memories of his wonderful past when he used to be at his duty with God.

His heart-cry now is: when shall I come and appear before God? His utmost desire now is to seek the face of the one who’s willing to fill whoever is thirsty and to drink from His overflowing grace.

Now he seems to be saying: though I may look fine on the physical, I have missed something spiritually. Though people think I’m all fine, I know within myself that there is a space in my life, a hollow and vacuum I will not deceive myself about.

Though I can still see some shadows of spiritual gifts operating in my life, I will not be deceived. And though I have wasted my time away from the sanctuary, I will come back home.

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